School Closure Threat

Some of you will remember Gab Macintosh and her school, Blacktown Youth College who were part of our group from the beginning. We lost touch with Gab for a number of years but this year we have been in touch again and I learnt that she had set up another school called Eagle Arts and Vocational College with three campuses in Broken Hill, Western Sydney and the Central Coast. Gab has been keen for the school to become part of ADEC. As with BYC, the students at these schools have often had troubled histories within their families, their education and some with the justice system. Gab has always been one to champion them and try to find ways to enable them to change their lives and create some educational paths ways which work for them. The school recently has had the disturbing news that the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) has decided to close them down. Like all these situation the story is long and complicated but is very upsetting and perplexing for the school community especially as they have had 5 inspections in the last 18 months and just two weeks prior to the final negative inspection they had passed an inspection.  Gab told me that she had written an article for the local paper and this was apparently reported to the board and they came for another inspection virtually the next day. It was this inspection that prompted the judgement that they were not a proper school. Gab has not really been able to establish why one group of inspectors’ decision was completely overturned. The school worked with a compliance expert and even this process did not result in a change of decision. In fact any attempt to allow time to work on issues or work on appeals has resulted in the decision being brought forward.

Gab is aware that other small alternative schools have also been having more difficult processes of inspection and wonders if some change of culture has occurred within the Authority which is now making it much harder to comply?

Gab has sent a request of support from ADEC. She mentioned three possible ways we might be able to do this.
In the past Gab has been successful in getting the media to respond to issues about the schools but at the moment no one is responding to the story at all. She asked if anyone has any contacts in the media who might be prepared to listen to the story and give it some attention to please let her know.
Letters of support to the politicians and bureaucrats would also be appreciated. We agreed that the people to focus on are the Premier, The Minister for Education and the Shadow Minister for Education, the Treasurer as he is the local member for plus the local members of Broken Hill and Central Coast.
The school is considering a protest gathering outside Parliament House on 21st Nov and they would appreciate if others felt able to join them in support. This is not definite yet but I will keep you up to date if it is going ahead.
Cec will draft letters from ADEC but I am sure that Gab and the school communities would also appreciate it is any other individuals and other schools wrote as well.
Some Contact details
Phone (02) 8574 5000

Fax (02) 9339 5500
Contact the Premier

Perrottet, Dominic In his capacity as Treasurer, and Minister for Industrial Relations:

Phone (02) 8574 6900
Fax (02) 9339 5550
Contact the Treasurer
Stokes, Rob In his capacity as Minister for Education:
Phone (02) 8574 6707
Fax (02) 9339 5554

Humphries, Kevin In his capacity as Member for Barwon:

Phone (02) 6792 1422Fax (02) 6792 1466

Tesch, Liesl In her capacity as Member for Gosford:

Phone (02) 4342 4122
Fax (02) 4341 2368
Foley, Luke In his capacity as Member for Auburn: and as Leader of the Opposition
Phone (02) 9737 8822
Fax (02) 9737 8844
Dib, Jihad In his capacity as Member for Lakemba: and as Shadow Minister for Education
Phone (02) 9759 5000
Fax (02) 9759 1945

ADEC Conference 2016 Information

ADEC Conference 2016 Information

Koonwarra Village School in South Gippsland, Victoria, is proud to host the 2016 ADEC Conference

Dates: Monday 26th (evening) to Wednesday 28th September (mid-afternoon)

Accommodation and travel information

Cost: $180 (up until 30th August), $220 (after 1st September) (this includes all meals and conference activities)

Program so far:

  • Friday night screening of ‘Most Likely to Succeed’, film from the US
  • Invitation for attendees to present on what’s working really well in their schools
  • Presentation on IDEC / APDEC conferences by Cecelia Bradley and other conference attendees.
  • Workshops by KVS staff to demonstrate how we apply aspects of our learning model.
  • School Starters workshop
  • School Administrators get-together
  • More program details will be advised in the coming months.

Please contact us with any questions or program suggestions.


I am very pleased to tell you that Fiona McKenzie, the Co-ordinator, and the community of Koonwarra Village School in Victoria are happy to host the ADEC Conference in 2016. I would like to thank them very much for agreeing to host. They hope to hold the conference during the week of 26th – 30th September 2016 which is the week most common to most of the States and NZ.

As soon as they have the definite dates I will let you know. 

Those of us who were at the 2014 conference at Peregrine School in Tasmania will remember Fiona and Hadassah and I look forward to being able to spend time together with them and their community. Koonwarra Village School began in 2011/12.

The website for the school is

I hope that many of you and members of your school communities will be able to join us for this gathering and we can continue to renew the connections we have made over the years and build new paths for ADEC.

APDEC 2016

Early Bird registration is still open till the end of April for the first APDEC conference being hosted by Miao-Li County Holistic Education school in Taiwan from 18th – 24th July 2016. We hope that many of our friends in ADEC will be able to participate and continue the work to develop the Asia/Pacific Democratic Education Community.

For more information please see the website or follow developments on the Facebook page:


Fitzroy Community School Book Published.

Faye Berryman and Philip O’Caroll, have published the story of  their founding of the Fitzroy Community School in 1976 and their discoveries over the years since then about children, parents, education, schooling and life.
The title of the book is Fitzroy Community School.
It is published by Fitzroy Programs Pty Ltd, Melbourne, 2015.
Faye and Philip have each written their story and though it is about FCS  as Philip wrote, ” the book is mostly about the state of education in Australia today and what it could be in the future.”
Philip is keen to spread the word about the book and hopes that as well as the fascinating story of this specific school, the broader premise of the book will be of interest to many of us involved in the lives of children and working to create education which enables their lives to be rich and fulfilling.